Couch potatoin-training?It’s time toget seriousabout health: forour kids and ourschools.Ready…Set… Go!
You know it in your heart. You know it every time you think back to your own childhood – riding your bike, climbing trees, playing hide and seek, road hockey or pretend. You know our kids are just not healthy enough. The statistics bear out what you know in your heart. But the numbers only tell one part of the story. What they don’t tell you is the reason this is all so important: Our kids’ physical, emotional and mental health are the key predictors of their future quality of life. So let’s cut to the chase. Our kids need help – our help. And it’s not help that is hard to give. We just need to do it!READY!Why should we care students’ ability to focus and pay attention in class,about school health? and improves their chances for academic success.· y graduation, the average student will have spent 15,000 B · t’s easy and usually more affordable for students and I hours watching TV and only 500 hours in families to access physical activity programs connected to Health and Physical Education programs. schools. Many programs outside of school require pre-regis-· uropean kids walk an average of 2,400 more steps E tration and fees. per day than Canadian children. · ids take Health and Physical Education (HPE) classes K· anada ranks 21st out of 28 countries for child C every year until Grade 8 and for one year well-being. in high school. But the classes aren’t just about· anada ranks 27th out of 28 countries for C physical fitness. Along with movement skills, childhood obesity. kids learn about safety, healthy eating, human· ne out of four Canadian children is overweight O development, mental health, sexual health, injury preven- or obese. tion, and substance use and abuse. · n Ontario, the HPE curriculum is the only curriculum that IWhy are schools a great place includes a direct focus on making healthyto improve kids’ health? choices, including decision making, critical and· tudents spend an average of six hours a day, five S creative thinking and relationship and social skills. days a week, for 12 to 14 years in school – that’s · strong HPE curriculum, supported by great A more than 16,000 hours! This makes schools the programs, helps students address all of the ideal place to promote physical activity, mental emotional challenges and hard choices they face. health and healthy eating.· esearch shows that physical activity increases R
SET! What is my school doing now to promote health? 20 questions to ask.Take a few minutes to assess your school. (You can do it with your school council.) Share the results. Then make a plan.1. o elementary students have at least three D 11. re the extracurricular athletic programs A classes of Health and Physical Education (HPE) each available at no cost? week? Yes No Not sure n/a Yes No Not sure n/a 12. oes your school make walking and cycling to D2. s HPE taught by a specialist teacher? I and from school easy for students (by providing bike racks, a crossing guard, etc.)? Yes No Not sure n/a Yes No Not sure n/a3. o all students participate in 20 minutes of D physical activity every day? 13. oes your school have any organized programs D to help kids walk or bike to school? Yes No Not sure n/a Yes No Not sure n/a4. re there organized physical activities for students during A recess and/or lunch? 14. o students receive instruction about healthy D food choices? Yes No Not sure n/a Yes No Not sure n/a5. o students have access to a range of athletic equipment D during and/or lunch? 15. oes your school cafeteria offer students a range of D healthy food and drink options? Yes No Not sure n/a Yes No Not sure n/a6. o the HPE classes have a combination of D physical activity, movement skills training, and healthy 16. s healthy food offered at school events, meetings, and I living components? fundraising activities? Yes No Not sure n/a Yes No Not sure n/a7. re the locations where HPE is taught safe and A 17. as your school signed up for the Ontario Ministry of Edu- H in good repair and is there a variety of athletic equipment cation’s Healthy Schools Recognition Program? – also in good repair? Yes No Not sure n/a Yes No Not sure n/a 18. oes your school have a Healthy Schools committee that D8. o the teachers in your school receive training D includes the principal, teachers, students, parents and and support to help them include physical activities in the community partners? school day? Yes No Not sure n/a Yes No Not sure n/a 19. oes your school work with community partners (e.g. D9. oes your school have a wide variety of extracurricular D Public Health, Parks and Rec.) to provide a range of pro- athletic programs? grams for kids and families? Yes No Not sure n/a Yes No Not sure n/a10. Do as many girls as boys participate in 20. oes your school have any programs led by D extracurricular athletic programs? students that focus on health (physical, mental or emotional)? Yes No Not sure n/a Yes No Not sure n/a
GO!How can we make our school a “healthy school”?1. fter your assessment, get together with A sodium. The policy applies to all food sold in schools, includ- ing food sold in cafeterias, vending other people in your school and make a machines, or at school fundraising events. plan:Sign up for the Ministry of Education’s Healthy Schools Rec- 3. hink about what’s happening Tognition Program. Schools pledge to take on a healthy activityin their school – and receive recognition for it. Schools can after school:start a new activity or build on an existing one. Go to www. Send information home to let everyone know what’s avail-edu.gov.on.ca and look for the “Healthy Schools” link. able for kids after school. Kids who are outside during the after-school period are healthier andWork with your school council, principal and teachers more active.to decide on ways to build a health-promotingenvironment throughout your school community. Use your Contact your local Parks and Recreation departmentschool’s health and physical education (HPE) programs as to find out what’s available in your area. Many municipalitiesa starting point and ask the school staff how you can sup- offer free, subsidized, and low-cost fitness programs andport them. Specialist HPE teachers, or school board HPE activities.consultants can provide support to classroom teachers, theprincipal and the school council. 4. Communicate:Hold events for the whole school community – parents, Spread the word! Use your school newsletter, website, orneighbours, local businesses – that focus on increasing physi- bulletin boards to feature articles and information about thecal activity, building awareness of healthy food choices and importance of integrating issues of health and physical activ-providing information about mental health supports. ity throughout your school.2. t’s not about creating athletes. I Encourage all families in your school community to partici- It’s about changing how we think, how pate in physical activity every day and to make healthy food choices. Ontario’s School Food and we eat, and how we feel. Beverage policy doesn’t apply to food brought from home,Partner with neighbourhood organizations. Partnerships pro- but parents may find the guidelines helpful in makingvide more opportunities for kids to participate, and can help healthier choices when packing lunches.families access things like mental healthsupports and recreation programs. Write to your local newspaper about what you’re doing at your school or make a deputation to your schoolEncourage students to develop their own programs. Youth- board or city council about the importanceled programs engage more young people and help kids con- of school health.nect with their peers.Make your school a healthy school. Ontario’s School Foodand Beverage policy outlines what kinds of foods and drinkscan be served and sold in Ontario schools.The acceptable foods have low amounts of fat, sugar, and
This health and physical education tool kit is brought to you by… For more information contact:People for Education is an independent organization · he Ontario Ministry of Education Tworking to support public education in Ontario’s www.edu.gov.on.ca/eng/healthyschools/foundations.pdfEnglish, Catholic and French schools. Our websitehas lots of resources for parents, data about Health and · he Ontario Physical and Health Education Association TPhysical Education programs in Ontario’s schools, links to www.ophea.netinformation about programs in other provinces and a widerange of research on health and · hildren’s fitness tax credit information Cphysical education. For more information, go to www.cra-arc.gc.ca/fitness (federal) orwww.peopleforeducation.ca. www.fin.gov.on.ca/en/catc/faq.html (provincial) · ctive Healthy Kids Canada A www.activehealthykids.ca · ntario Chronic Disease Prevention Alliance OThis project was made possible through funding www.ocdpa.on.cafrom the Heart and Stroke Foundation’s SparkAdvocacy Grants. For more information, go to · ParticipACTIONwww.heartandstroke.ca/spark. www.participaction.com · ntario Healthy Schools Coalition O www.ontariohealthyschools.ca